Private Houses


Rosefsky Summer House

Silver Lake, Pennsylvania


There are several phases to the Rosefsky Summer House, none of which were implemented. And yet the three designs presented here are among the most representative of all of Seligmann's work.

The original scope was for a small lakeside cabin with two, even-smaller cabins for family and guests and a painting studio for Mrs Rosefsky. Seligmann had just returned from Ithaca and along the way spotted a farmstead consisting of a grain silo and three inter-related buildings, which he felt would be the ideal prototype.

Being too busy with teaching, at the time, he challenged his junior staff to develop two, alternative schemes to present to the Rosefsky's, which follow on the next two pages. The silo made it into an early sketch for scheme 1, as a standalone painting studio, but does not appear again in subsequent drawings.

When the client located to a new site, a new scheme was developed, presented on this page, which abandoned the "farmstead parti," in place of a split volume on axis with a small pond, perhaps an early inspiration for the Cardiff Opera House project?

All three versions, have a deliberate rustic quality, reminiscent of Corbusier's "Maison de M. Errazuriz," in Chili, but also of Seligmann's Sproull House, of the same year as the Rosefsky House. Both utilized exposed timbers for roof and wall framing, contrasted by smooth surfaces with fenestration cut out of the surfaces.

Although much is said about Wright and Corbusier as inspirations for Seligmann, Alvar Aalto was another important source, as may be seen in the vertical grillwork contrasted with the white surface, in the elevation on this page, and the arrangement of the floor plan for the first scheme of the Rosefsky House on the next page.


Bottom, left and center: Two parti diagrams by Seligmann, indicating the shift from "farmstead," to a more formal arrangement suggested by the new site.

Top and bottom, right: The third scheme for the Rosefsky House, abandons the "farmstead parti," in favor of a single block, split apart to create an entrance and align with the pond.